The Ziller valley is a flat and wide valley which heads 30km due south of the Inn valley until it reaches Mayrhofen.
From there the road starts to wind up through Finkenberg and Lanersbach until the end of the Tux valley and the glacier ski area of Hintertux another 20km away.
That bit of geography is just to illustrate the fact that there are decent ski resorts all along the mountain ranges above the valley - all covered on the multi-day ski pass and by included public transport - and Mayrhofen is pretty centrally located to access all of them.
That's made the resort pretty much the best-known destination in the Ziller valley and the resort has developed a good reputation both for its skiing and its après ski. There's a lot going on both on the slopes and down at the bottom of the lifts at the end of the day and the season culminates in the Snowbombing event in April - a music and fancy dress festival which has grown from year to year.
Access to the resort is pretty easy - there are no great natural hurdles like mountain passes along the way - and it is conveniently located between three major winter airport destinations.
Accommodation is a good mix as well, with plenty of guesthouse and apartment accommodation as well as the normal four and five star hotels.
Those who are looking for something a little bit quieter (or older?) but still take advantage of the skiing in the area might want to take a look at the nearby villages of Schwendau, Hippach and Finkenberg, which all offer ski access to the same area (see the Hotels and Travel tabs above for details about booking your own accommodation and making your own way to the resort).
Location: Mayrhofen is the best-known ski resort amongst a number of areas in the Ziller valley, which stretches south towards the Italian border from the Inn valley.
Access: Mayrhofen is relatively easy to travel to with no real problems with mountain roads or passes and good public transport.
Mayrhofen Ski Positives
- extensive skiing in local area with option of easy travel to other Ziller Valley resorts
- two areas directly available from village
- excellent nightlife options
Mayrhofen Ski Negatives
- queues up and down the mountain at peak times
- virtually all of skiing above the tree line so not so good in bad weather
- not optimal for beginners
Mayrhofen Ski Information
Mayrhofen has access to great skiing. The problem is that it is all at the top of a mountain.
The notorious lift queues up and down to the village may have eased somewhat but still can be annoying if you hit them at the wrong time.
Of course, there are ways around this. Take a bus to alternate way up into the ski area (Hippach or Finkenberg); get up early in the morning and have a bit of apres-ski at the end of the day to avoid peak periods; or try the separate Ahorn area to get the legs going in the morning.
And once you do get up onto the main Penken area which links to the lifts above the other villages, it offers a highly enjoyable variety of good intermediate runs stretching all the way over to Tux (and back).
There are a number of different routes marked on the ski map to get around the area which have been designed for different ability levels.
A further advantage of the ski area is the automatic Zillertal Super Ski pass for purchases of more than two days. This opens up the Hintertux glacier area above Tux (which should definitely not be written off as 'just' a glacier area) as well as a whole range of resorts further down the Ziller valley which are all interesting ski areas in their own right.
The town of Zell am Ziller links over to the high altitude skiing above Gerlos (again with lifts up from the town and down again at the end of the day) while the skiing above Kaltenbach which connects with Hochfügen is a very under-rated ski area. Even the Spieljoch directly above Fügen is enough to while away a morning.
The total Mayrhofen area has 53 lifts and covers more than 130km of terrain.
Ski Pass Prices 2017/2018
A day pass will cost 52 Euros in the main season.
A six-day pass will cost 249 Euros in the main season.
There are no seasonal reductions.
Ski Slope Verdict
- Mayrhofen is not the ideal resort for beginner skiers as almost all of the slopes are at the top of the mountain and the simpler runs on the Penken can become busy. The Ahorn area can be a better option for blue runs.
- The Mayrhofen area is a good option for intermediate skiers. Not only do most of the slopes fall into this category, but those at this level can take advantage both of the local links over to the Eggalm and Finkenberg and the access to other ski areas on the Zillertal Super Ski pass.
- Advanced skiers have a few options when it comes to the Mayrhofen skiing. The Harakiri run is heavily publicised as the steepest run in Austria (at 78% incline) and the powder skiing can be good, if crowded, in the right conditions. The scope of all the other valley resorts, as mentioned above, is another big attraction.
How To Get To Mayrhofen
Distance to Innsbruck Airport (AT): 75km
Distance to Salzburg Airport (AT): 170km
Distance to Munich Airport (DE): 197km
Nearest railway station to Mayrhofen: train station in town
Mayrhofen is one of the resorts to the east of Innsbruck which have a number of good airport options.
Innsbruck is certainly the closest and easiest for flights, with its tremendous choice of weekend charters but both Munich (best for scheduled flights and for those arriving from further afield) and Salzburg (a good mix of scheduled and charters) are close enough and relatively simple in terms of transfers to come into play.
Mayrhofen lies at the end of the Zillertalbahn - a useful railway which heads south from Jenbach on the main Inn valley line and passes through other Ziller valley resorts before reaching the Mayrhofen station on the edge of the village. Any arrivals thinking of using of public transport from the airports above should make their way to Jenbach and then switch onto the Ziller valley line.
Car hire is available from all airports - links to rental car availability in the different countries are listed below and open in a new window:
There are few problem with getting to Mayrhofen by car. The route down the Inn valley in either direction is by motorway and what used to be quite horrific high season weekend traffic jams have been alleviated by road improvement at various points on the valley road.
The Ziller valley itself is very flat up to Mayrhofen, so there are no worries with climbing mountain passes or driving around hairpin bends, however the road is a busy one with many junctions and care should be taken with speed limits and areas where overtaking is forbidden.
Town Altitude: 630m
The main ski season opens for winter 2017/2018 on 02 December and runs through to 15 April. Skiing on the Hintertux glacier starts from early October.
Mayrhofen Tourist Office : www.mayrhofen.at
Mayrhofen Weather Forecast: www.weatheraustria.net
Mayrhofen Lifts: www.mayrhofner-bergbahnen.com
Hintertux Glacier Ski Area: www.hintertuxergletscher.at
Austrian Railways (includes public bus services): www.oebb.at